Dodgers Team News

Dodgers’ Mookie Betts Surprising Coaches With How Great His Play Has Been

Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Mookie Betts has been impressive this season playing a new position. He has done so well that he is an early candidate for National League Most Valuable Player, even as Betts has expressed frustration with his defense sometimes.

In an interview with Dodgers Nation’s Doug McKain, Dodgers third base coach Dino Ebel spoke about Betts and his defense.

“I’ve never seen an elite player do what he’s doing. Right field, second base, right field, second, short, second, right field, now, playing shortstop. So what he’s doing, what he’s going through, the process is unbelievable. He’s obsessed. This guy, he wants to do it. He’s learning every day. Miggy Rojas beside him, giving him all the tips, and then me behind him monitoring and just little tips here and there, running through the ball, get your legs in, you’ve got enough arm. The progress that he’s made from day one until today, it’s unbelievable and it’s showing on the field.”

Dodgers third base coach Dino Ebel, via Dodgers Nation’s Doug McKain

Betts has become a permanent infielder for the Dodgers this season, playing mostly shortstop in addition to 15 appearances at second base. He has yet to return to the outfield and most likely won’t because of the lack of infield depth compared to the outfield.

The 31-year-old has a .958 fielding percentage, with seven errors in 165 total chances at short. At this point in the season, it’s hard to imagine anyone else playing full-time shortstop for the Dodgers other than Betts.

Oh, and the former MVP is doing all of this on defense while having a career year at the plate. He’s batting .335 while leading the squad with a .431 on-base percentage and 36 walks (compared to just 23 strikeouts).

It’s absolutely incredible to see how the positional transition and extra work are not taking away from Betts’ approach at the plate. Judging by the numbers, if anything, it’s made him a better hitter.

Perhaps Betts needs to cut himself some slack and understand that learning a new position in the big leagues is a process and it takes time to truly become comfortable.

Photo Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

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Maren Angus

Maren Angus-Coombs was born in Los Angeles and raised in Nashville, Tenn. She is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University and has been a sports writer since 2008. Despite being raised in the South, her sports obsession has always been in Los Angeles. She is currently a staff writer for Dodgers Nation and the LA Sports Report Network.

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